Notorious ‘Tiger King’ Abuser Doc Antle Sent Tiger Cubs to a Shady Circus

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3 min read

After watching the number one Netflix series, Tiger King, are you wondering what becomes of tiger cubs after Bhagavan “Doc” Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari exploits them for photo ops?

  • According to a former Myrtle Beach Safari apprentice, only Antle knew what became of the tiger cubs. “We didn’t really ask,” she said. “We didn’t see that, and we weren’t really part of that.”
  • John Reinke, longtime manager of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, said, “There’s always been a rumor out there that Doc Antle euthanizes his cubs when he’s done with them.”
  • PETA was also told by Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage that Antle puts tiger cubs who’ve grown too old for playtime events into a gas chamber to kill them and then burns their bodies in an on-site crematorium.

Antle has also sent “aged-out” cubs to other abusers across the country. Last summer, he shipped two 8-month-old cubs—too old to be used for photo ops with visitors—to a circus trainer.

Doc Antle Sent Tiger Cubs to a Circus

Documentation obtained by PETA reveals that Ryan Easley, a big-cat exhibitor for Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin, acquired two tiger cubs from Myrtle Beach Safari in July 2019. These tigers—who’ve been exploited since their earliest days in a roadside zoo—will be forced to learn and perform demeaning tricks in circus shows under the threat of a whip.

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The cubs’ new exploiter, Easley (aka “Ryan Holder”) is no better than the one they left: During training sessions in 2017, he was caught violently whipping tigers, one of whom was reportedly struck 31 times. Circus World also uses elephants supplied by Carson & Barnes Circus, whose head trainer was recorded on video viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook and shocking them with an electric prod, causing them to scream in pain.

What Animals Endure at Myrtle Beach Safari

“Doc” Antle has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, including by endangering the public and by failing to provide animals with needed veterinary care, sufficient cage space, and clean water. In addition, he uses tiger cubs and other animals for harmful hands-on encounters, photo ops, and publicity-driven videos, including one featuring a chimpanzee named Sugriva, who was separated from his mother as a baby—a common practice in the industry. And in 2014, Antle came under fire from PETA for a shameless—and dangerous—stunt in which he took two chimpanzees to a screening of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

What You Won’t See on Tiger King

Antle is a key player in the exploitative tiger cub–petting industry, which churns out baby tigers in order to have a constant inventory of infants people pay to hold and get photos with. Tiger cubs are torn away from their mothers when they’re just days old in order to acclimate them to such handling. In the wild, they’d stay with their protective and nurturing mothers for two years.

Once the cubs grow too large and dangerous for the public to handle—which they do quickly—their exhibitors often unload them. In this case, the cubs, now named Jade and Amara, face a lifetime of cramped cages, whips, constant travel, and frustration in the circus.

Our little girls now have their public names –
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What You Can Do

PETA urges everyone to stay away from animal circuses, roadside zoos, and all other operations in which animals suffer for the gain of cruel people. All decent people know by now that animals exist for their own reasons, not to be used as entertainment for humans. Take action now by urging the Wisconsin Historical Society, which operates Circus World, to get with the times and end its cruel and archaic animal acts.

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